Should I sue a negligent contractor or not?

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Should I sue a negligent contractor or not?

Last November I hired a contractor to infill my garage door . The contractor finished at night, so we couldn’t really see it and he wanted full payment on completion per the contract so I payed him. After seeing it the next day the brick work is so bad. Its out of level and breaking away from the other bricks, the mortar joints weren’t even troweled. I have tried to call him and have him repair it but he wont answer my calls or messages. Should I try and sue or should I just report the the BBB? It will cost me $450 to hire someone to take out and redo the bricks.

Asked on February 12, 2011 under General Practice, Virginia

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You could sue the contractor for breach of contract for the substandard work.  Your damages would be the contract price plus the $450 to have the work done by someone else.

You might also have a separate cause of action (claim) in your lawsuit for negligence against the contractor if there was damage to your property; for example, from the bricks breaking away as you described.  Negligence is based on preventing foreseeable harm by exercising due care (that degree of care that in this case a reasonable contractor would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances).  You would have to establish that the contractor breached the duty of care by failing to do the brick work properly and that this breach of the duty of care was the actual and proximate cause of the damage to your property.  Actual cause means but for the contractor not doing the brick work properly, would your property have been damaged?  If the answer is no which appears to be the case, you have established actual cause.  Proximate cause means were there any unforeseeable intervening events which would relieve the contractor of liability?  If the answer is no, you have established proximate cause.  Your damages for negligence would be the cost of repairs or the diminution in value of your property due to the contractor's negligence.

You asked about contacting the BBB.  That may not have much of an effect.  You can still contact them regarding the contractor's work and also file a lawsuit against the contractor.

 

 


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